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Nov 5, 2009 01:16 AM

A Hot Date With Ice Skates

Alright, so I'm having a date Saturday night with a wonderful girl in Santa Monica. And since we're going to the ice skating rink right off the promenade, I figure we should eat near there as well.

So I ask you Chowhoudners: what is a nice, highclass eating establishment within a one mile radius (no car) of 1324 Fifth Street in Santa Monica? Formal dress is fine, and price is not an issue.

And I promise I'll tell the board how the meal goes. :)

Thanks guys!

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  1. Side note:

    Italian is the type of cuisine I'm searching for. And if the resturaunt is worth it, it can be more than a mile away, just as long as it's walkable.

    5 Replies
      1. re: JBC

        A prior thread that should prove helpful can be found here and I Cugini is also a good possibility.

        That said, I note that Ryan has come to the LA board a handful of times asking for help, but has never come back to report on any of his dining choices. It would be really nice to hear how some of the recommendations that LA hounds have given him have actually worked out. Ryan?

        I Cugini
        1501 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        1. re: Servorg

          Yeah, I admit I've been really bad about that. But I'd be more than happy to tell you or anyone about any meal I've had, and the future one in this current thread. :D

          1. re: RyanD22

            You can tell me, and everyone else too at the very same time. Just come back after your meal and report on the food (and ambiance and service too if you can) afterward. We are all in the same boat here (we come together to discuss our local food scene) so giving and getting is what makes the Chowhound world go round. It's not too late to go back to the other threads in which you asked for suggestions and let everyone know where you ended up and what you had those times either. Late reporting is way, way, way better than no reporting at all.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. I think Jiraffe is on 5th street... that place is lovely.

        Jiraffe Restaurant
        502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

        1 Reply
        1. re: Clyde

          I must have past by it a million times. Strange I never even thought of that as an option before..

          1. re: mollyomormon

            Yes, La Botte is the best Italian restaurant in walking distance of the Santa Monica ice skating rink. Pricey though... Less expensive and further, but walking distance are ICucini and Locanda del Lago.

            1. re: altstarr

              Yes, definitely pricey but since OP said price wasn't an issue, it seemed like the best choice.

              The one meal I had at Locanda del Lago was pretty terrible. Was that a fluke?

              1. re: mollyomormon

                Labotte is looking like a winner. Do you mind elaborating on your experience/meal there?

                1. re: RyanD22

                  I've actually never been because Italian is the one cuisine I really don't enjoy eating out very much, but this review almost made me want to try it:

                  1. re: mollyomormon

                    Well it's definately persuasive. Thanks for the tip Molly. :)

          2. As promised, here are the results of my meal (in case you were wondering, we didn't end up ice skating, but it was a great date!).


            I ended up choosing Labotte per mollymormon's suggestion, and the reviews I found on the web were quite favorable. As it turns out, Labotte was indeed a winner. l'll do my absolute best to explain the food, the service and then the ambiance.

            Though I was a bit hesitant at first, I ordered the pumpkin ravioli, which was highly recommended by our waiter. I wanted to try something new and thankfully I wasn't disappointed. I haven't had an Italian dish quite like it. It had a blend of several different flavors and textures: juicy, rich, smooth and slightly chewy (but in a good way). What I was concerned about though before I took the first bite, was if the butter sauce would be too heavy, as in my experience that tends to be the biggest mistake in Italian foods. And to my joy, it was perfectly laid out, and complimented the dish rather than flooding my palette.

            (Note: I don’t have enough information to elaborate on what my date had. When I talk to her next I’ll ask her and eventually add it onto this summary.)

            The service in many ways is this restaurant’s best asset. The host, who also was our waiter, carried an enthusiasm and charm that was undoubtedly genuine, and immediately made us feel comfortable. He was attentive and generally prompt.

            Finally, the ambiance was exactly what I pictured it to be. Dimmed lights, candles scattered throughout the wine cellar-themed restaurant. Too often are descriptions romanticized in such a way that it renders their depictions somewhat skewed at best. This was certainly not the case. It was exactly the kind of atmosphere I was looking for, read about and received.

            Conclusion: If you are looking for authentic Italian cuisine with every romantic fixture and setting you can think of for a romantic date, this is your oasis, assuming price is not an obstacle.

            For what I was able to absorb from Labotte, I give it an 8 out of 10. Thanks for your help guys!

            6 Replies
            1. re: RyanD22

              Ryan, thanks for coming back with your report. Did you have any wine with dinner? Did you only have the ravioli? No salad, starter or dessert? Finally, what was the per person cost of your meal? The service sounds top notch for your dinner and candle lit restaurants can certainly help get dates on the right footing.

              1. re: Servorg

                You're really into all this huh?

                I didn't have any wine. I originally was going to include it as a side note, but it slipped my mind.

                I had no starter or salad, though my date had soup to start with (again, I don't recall what it was). The (delicious and free) bread coupled with the ravioli was enough to satisfy me.

                If I split the cost in half it would have been $30 per person (including a fair tip), which is incredibly affordable considering the nature of the establishment. And yeah, I think I really hit home with it.

                Though I will say that personally, I would have enjoyed some wine pairings. But I'll do that the next time I go.

                1. re: RyanD22

                  "You're really into all this huh?"

                  Just me (and everyone else on Chowhound)... ;-D>

                  1. re: Servorg

                    Oh I meant nothing by it. I respect your passion.

                    And yes, I'm noticing that. :)

              2. re: RyanD22

                thanks for reporting back! glad your date worked out!